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Kirsten Bosnak
Kansas Biological Survey
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Six students receive KU Field Station Student Research Awards for 2020

Tue, 04/21/2020

LAWRENCE — Like everyone else this spring, field ecologists are making adjustments, but the work continues — and that goes for student researchers, too. The Kansas Biological Survey provides annual awards to KU students to help cover costs associated with their field experiments connected with the KU Field Station.

The Biological Survey, a KU designated research center, manages the Field Station. It has presented six students, including two undergraduates, with its 2020 KU Field Station Student Research Awards. Their work covers subjects such as the role of fungi in grassland restoration, the effect of landscape position on forest productivity and the bioavailability of dissolved organic carbon in Kansas streams.

“It’s not surprising that we had a smaller — but outstanding — pool of applicants for this year’s awards, and we’re excited about their projects,” said Bryan Foster, KU Field Station director, KU professor of ecology & evolutionary biology and senior scientist at the Kansas Biological Survey. “The KU Field Station awards committee is happy to fund students who are able to work safely in the field on their own research.” 

The KU Field Station Student Awards recipients:

Haley Burrill, Irvine, California, doctoral student in ecology & evolutionary biology, awarded $400 for her project titled “Using native pathogen buildup to inhibit invasive Lespedeza cuneata: a novel biocontrol approach.” Her adviser is Jim Bever, KU Foundation Distinguished Professor of Ecology & Evolutionary Biology and senior scientist at the Kansas Biological Survey.

Zoe Chan, sophomore in biochemistry from Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, awarded $400 for her project, “Do non-native plants benefit from native soil biota during environmental stresses?” Her adviser is Ben Sikes, associate professor of ecology & evolutionary biology and associate scientist at the Kansas Biological Survey.

Kayla Clouse, Farmington Hills, Michigan, graduate student in ecology & evolutionary biology, awarded $400 for her project, “Impact of microbe-dependent heterosis on mature maize plants.” Her adviser is Maggie Wagner, assistant professor of ecology & evolutionary biology and assistant scientist at the Kansas Biological Survey.

Camille Delavaux, Pittstown, New Jersey, doctoral student in ecology & evolutionary biology, awarded $400 for her project, “Meaningful restorations: Evolution of mycorrhizal plant protection against pathogens in post-agricultural grasslands.” Her adviser is Jim Bever.

Soudeh Ghasemian, doctoral student in ecology & evolutionary biology from Mashhad, Iran, awarded $400 for her project, “The relative sensitivity of forest productivity to landscape position vs. microtopography.” Her adviser is Sharon Billings, Dean’s Professor of Ecology & Evolutionary Biology and senior scientist at the Kansas Biological Survey.

Kaci Zarek, Norfolk, Nebraska, sophomore in environmental studies, awarded $400 for her project, “Bioavailability and complexity of dissolved organic carbon in Kansas streams.” Her adviser is Amy Burgin, associate professor of ecology & evolutionary biology and associate scientist at the Kansas Biological Survey.

Each of the KU Field Station Student Research Awards is funded through KU Endowment, the independent, nonprofit organization serving as the official fundraising and fund-management organization for KU.

The Kansas Biological Survey was established at KU in 1911. It houses a diverse group of ecological research and remote sensing/GIS programs. The survey also manages the 3,700-acre KU Field Station, established in 1947; it offers sites for faculty and student study in the sciences, arts, humanities and professional schools.

Photo: Doctoral student Soudeh Ghasemian with her adviser, Sharon Billings, at the KU Field Station’s Baldwin Woods Forest Preserve. 



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